by SUSAN MANN
Maple Leaf Foods’ sale of its commercial turkey farms along with its breeder and hatchery operations to two separate companies was completed Friday, and the sale price was more than $45 million, says a company spokesperson.
Maple Leaf sold its commercial turkey farms to Ernald Enterprises Limited and its breeder farms plus hatchery operations to Cuddy Farms Limited. Maple Leaf’s operations employed more than 100 people in southern Ontario and included a hatchery and six breeder farms that supplied turkey eggs and poults (day-old turkeys) to domestic and international markets plus six commercial farms that supplied market-ready live birds to Maple Leaf’s turkey processing facility in Thamesford.
Maple Leaf spokesman Dave Bauer says most employees transitioned to Ernald Enterprises and Cuddy Farms.
The sale won’t impact the industry. Turkey Farmers of Ontario board chair Ingrid DeVisser says by email that she “doesn’t foresee any changes for the industry in the short term.”
Ernald will continue shipping to the Cold Spring plant as it has always done, she says “so there will be no interruption in the flow of product into the plant.” With the sale of Maple Leaf’s breeder farms and hatchery operations to Cuddy, farmers will continue to receive high quality poults from an Ontario hatchery, she adds.
Bauer says he couldn’t speak on behalf of the industry when asked how the sale affects the Ontario industry. But the sale enables the company “to focus on our value-added turkey processing operations. We can focus on growth and innovation by directing capital to our processing operations.”
Maple Leaf will get turkeys for its processing operation from “other suppliers” and it has contracts already in place for that supply, Bauer says. In addition, “we secured a long-term contract with Ernald Enterprises as part of the transaction to supply us with a long-term supply of market-ready birds,” he says. The contract is renewable at Maple Leaf’s discretion.
Bauer declined to say how many years the long-term contract covered but he did say it was ongoing and “renewable at certain points based on certain conditions.”
In a July 22 press release from Maple Leaf, the company says it’s a leading food company with headquarters in Toronto. It employs 19,500 people at operations across Canada, in the United States, the United Kingdom and Asia. Maple Leaf had sales of $4.9 billion in 2012.
Cuddy Farms is a leading producer and distributor of commercial turkey eggs and poults in Canada. It distributes products nationally and to more than 20 other countries, the release says. Ernald Enterprises owns 1,200 acres of farmland and operates five commercial turkey and chicken growing operations in southern Ontario. BF